NEW BRITAIN - Amidst a whole season of fall fairs, thereâ€™s one that touches the hearts of local residents in particular.
New Britainâ€™s annual celebration of the fall harvest is known as Dozynki, and it took place over the weekend at Falcon Field.
Everything about the event signified heritage, culture and family - from the performance of Polish scouts and the Holy Mass presented by Archbishop Leonard Blair Saturday, to the pierogi and Polish beer served to thousands all weekend long.
â€śThis tradition is more than 1,000 years old,â€ť explained Roman Nowak, past president of the cityâ€™s Polish American Council and a current board member. â€śIn Poland, Dozynki takes place usually on a farm. Here we have this beautiful park. Itâ€™s the only privately-owned park in New Britain. We hope to carry this tradition on here forever.â€ť
Members of the older generation like Nowak get choked up talking about traditions and Dozynki. After theyâ€™re gone, the future is in the hands of younger Polish residents.
That includes the youth dancers and singers who performed Saturday, to the delight of their parents and grandparents.
â€śWe hope the younger generation will grow up and think of these Polish traditions,â€ť Nowak said. â€śThis is for them.â€ť
Current council president Richard Pokorski also served as festival chairperson, welcoming thousands of visitors to the park over the weekend.
â€śSaturday night we were literally slammed,â€ť he said. â€śA great turnout - better than expected with all the other events going on in the area.â€ť
New Britainâ€™s Little Poland is home to many of those who celebrated the fall harvest festival together.
â€śWeâ€™re the largest Polish community in the country,â€ť Pokorski pointed out. â€śWe blow all others away. And this is the biggest and oldest festival we have.â€ť
Awards were presented to Sacred Heart Parish, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, and the John Paul II Polish Language School, enjoying its 60th anniversary.
The archbishop recognized both organizations during Saturdayâ€™s mass.
All profits collected during the festival are filtered back into the Polish community through various avenues.
â€śWeâ€™re very proud people and weâ€™re going to continue on,â€ť Pokorski said.
This was the 39th year of Dozynki, making 2020 the 40th festival.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.